Give your wedding a perfect photo finish

By Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun-Times
April 19, 2002

Jeanne Farnan knew she wouldn’t cut corners on photography for her wedding day.

“My [husband] and I splurged on the photos because we knew we might not remember everything from our wedding, but the pictures would be forever,” says Farnan, 25, who was married earlier this month. “I remember being a bridesmaid and all the pictures from that wedding looked so posed.”

Like many modern brides, Farnan didn’t want her wedding album filled with dated photos that could’ve been taken at her parents’ wedding.

“I wanted candid shots and a photojournalistic approach to the whole day,” says the Bridgeport resident. “I wanted to enjoy the day without worrying about having to look perfect for the pictures. I wanted the  photographer to capture the moments as they happened.”

To make her dreams come true, she hired Angel Giannoni.

“Couples don’t want to be confined to traditional posing situations these days,” Giannoni says.

“They want images that journalize the day without a lot of structure to it. Sure, you have to give in a little if you want family shots and it’s a huge family.

“They’re not all just going to be in one spot at the same time by coincidence. But I try to make things flow more by getting to know who the family members are.

”Two weeks before the wedding, I sit down with the couple so I know what vision they have in their head. Then we can discuss what is and isn’t possible.”

Unlike past decades when perfection was the name of the game, Giannoni and other photographers say capturing the moment is what it’s about these days–parents teary-eyed over a speech, a groom hanging sideways from a pole, a bride riding off on a horse.

“Last July, I shot a wedding where it was 98 degrees and incredibly humid,” Giannoni says. “The bride walked out of an air-conditioned church to go outside, and my camera completely fogged up. I snapped away anyhow and got this incredibly mystical image of the couple leaving the church. It was a nicer image than any shot I could have staged.”

Photographer Steven E. Gross, who specializes in black-and-white wedding photography, explains, “What you want is to give the bride and groom a documentation of their wedding in a photojournalism sense. This means allowing things to happen instead of trying to make them happen.”

Gross prefers shooting in black-and-white because it captures reality in a more striking manner than color, Gross says. But not all parents have been pleased with their children’s decision to stray from the norm.

“I’ve been shooting in black-and-white for 20 years, and now it’s finally popular,” Gross says, laughing. “I remember one of the mothers of one couple said, ‘I’m so sorry you can’t afford color.’ They chuckled about it because shooting in black-and-white actually is more expensive.

“The reason people pay more is because black-and-white is more flattering and forgiving. There’s a timeless quality to it that just looks better. It also is different from what everyone else is doing, and couples are trying to do something that’s unique, which is why they want.”

What few want these days are table shots.

“Those are history,” Gross says. “When I’m a guest at a wedding, the last thing I want to do is put down my silverware and stand behind some other people for a staged photo that will look horrible.”

Instead, he’ll take multiple shots throughout the day to ensure he has photos of everyone.

Farrah Reilly, who was married two years ago, says she has beautiful memories of her wedding, thanks to collaborating with her photographer.

“I wanted the pictures to tell a story,” says Reilly, 25. “My photographer got some beautiful pictures and didn’t bother me at all throughout the day. I didn’t even know she was there and was really able to enjoy my wedding day.”

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